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Need help telling in-laws not to buy me PA gifts.

(178 Posts)
holepuncher Sat 14-Nov-15 08:29:09

PIL have form for sending me very PA gifts and cards. DH has just begun to realise that they do this after many years. For example they send me the poorest quality birthday card (sometimes a note-let) they can find, send it 2nd class and late so it gets here 4 days after the event. I kept my DHs and DCs cards for 2 years and then showed my DH the difference in what they receive and what I get because DH thought I was making it up. I only did this to show him that they are PA towards me.

Before DC they mostly never bought me a gift for birthday or Christmas despite us being very generous with them i.e. me the wifey putting the thought into it and going out buying it. On the occasions they have bought me it has been things like a tea towel, a pair of socks or something very similar. My PIL are quite wealthy so it is not a cost issue and they always ask us to buy them expensive gifts. This year they have asked us for something that costs £150. I cannot really get out of spending this because they now spend around this much on DH and the DC so I feel obliged to pass it back and it also makes me feel that I don't owe them anything and we are even. If I ever get a gift it is given very begrudgingly. They buy it so my DH doesn't get annoyed and the box is ticked and they are off the hook.

Anyway, the above may sound strange and some of you are probably poised to type that I should be grateful I get anything and they buy the DC. Don't forget that they did this before DC came along. I am not being grabby as I really do not want anything.

The reason I am writing this is because I cannot stomach another year sitting there watching PIL opening golf gifts, beautifully wrapped scarves, nice perfume and then it's my turn to open my £1.99 gloves from Costco. It makes me feel inferior and that doesn't sit well with me. The bottom line is I do not want anything from them. I am happy to buy for them but I want nothing in return and I do not even want to feel obliged for the £2 gift. DH sit there and open really nice presents and I feel like a twat.

I need a few ideas as to how to say to my MIL that I do not want her to buy me anything in future. I would prefer to not have anything to open from them and for us to be a bit more honest with each other and know that she doesn't want to waste her money or energy on me and I want nothing from her. I need a few pointers as I really need to say this but it is going to come out wrong.

originalmavis Sat 14-Nov-15 08:33:14

Ask them to donate your 'gift' to charity. Hopefully they will be more generous.

Very off people indeed.

SunnySomer Sat 14-Nov-15 08:36:26

I would do exactly as Mavis: if you're a family that does lists, then ask for an oxfam chicken or goat or toilet, OR say that you're becoming v uncomfortable with waste in the world (can blame it on HF-W) and please get nothing for you.
Strange, nasty way for them to behave

whatdoIget Sat 14-Nov-15 08:40:23

I would stop sorting their presents out and wrapping them etc. Your Dh can do that. And it really should be him who speaks to his parents and tells them that their behaviour towards you has to stop. Are they unpleasant to you in other ways?

SongBird16 Sat 14-Nov-15 08:40:46

It does seem like very strange behaviour. Do you think it might stem from a misunderstanding or perceived slight? I suppose I'm wondering whether, years ago, you failed to be enthusiastic enough about a gift, or forgot to thank them?

Anyway, there's no reason for you to let it continue and I think that asking them to make a charitable donation instead is a great suggestion. When they drop their £2 into a charity box they may realise how miserly they have been!

originalmavis Sat 14-Nov-15 08:40:49

How can anyone be either so blind or so arsey?

whatdoIget Sat 14-Nov-15 08:42:25

The charity gift suggestion is good! Maybe PILs would also appreciate a gift of a toilet for a village in India? After all they've got plenty of money, they will probably want to help people who have less than they do wink

Piratespoo Sat 14-Nov-15 08:43:07

Why haven't you asked your dh to ask them what is going On? It is embarrassing for you and very rude of them and he should tackle it for you.

whooshbangprettycolours Sat 14-Nov-15 08:43:48

I think I'd be asking my DH to talk to them. I find it strange he hasn't noticed before though. Many years and he didn't notice? Was he determinedly ignoring it. Now he has though, what's he saying? I'd be having a stand up row with my parents if they were behaving like that and telling them not to bother. Full stop.

Sounds to me there is a broom and a carpet for gifts this year; both coming your way.

expatinscotland Sat 14-Nov-15 08:45:18

Give them an Oxfam gift.

defineme Sat 14-Nov-15 08:47:54

Why would your dh let them treat you this way? I would let dh take the kids to visit on his own at Christmas. I would not countenance people who treated me like that in my house.

defineme Sat 14-Nov-15 08:49:30

Definitely stop buying their present choice-who asks for specific gifts like that? Leave it to dh.

Beachlovingirl Sat 14-Nov-15 08:50:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dollius01 Sat 14-Nov-15 08:50:46

Why are you arranging presents for them. Don't!

PrincessMarcheline Sat 14-Nov-15 08:51:51

£1.99 gloves from Costco.

I am a bit envy at your gift tbh, much better than most of the PIL PA Gifts I have received. One year they gave me a broken bracelet they found in the road...

magpie17 Sat 14-Nov-15 08:56:52

Who asks people to buy them something specific at £150 for Christmas?! That's very rude.

I have no advice but my parents used to do this to me, really crap generic cards every year (not even birthday cards, just those blank ones with a flower on the front) and things like a £20 Argos voucher for my 30th birthday. (They are very well off - I'm talking millions). We have always had a difficult relationship and the last birthday gift they bought me was a self-help book. We are NC now and have been for several years, to be honest it's a relief that I won't be getting any more 'gifts'.

Your DH should really be talking to them about this, it's his 'place' IMO and would be very awkward for you.

category12 Sat 14-Nov-15 09:07:14

Dh's job. He should say something like "I know you find holepuncher hard to buy for, what she would really like this year is __." Then have an argument with them if they're shitty about it. Then if you get a crap present this year, have another word.

You, op, shouldn't be part of the conversation. Dh needs to go in to bat for you.

Merguez Sat 14-Nov-15 09:07:36

What does PA stand for?

Schubertlemons Sat 14-Nov-15 09:09:17

I would be very effusive in my gratitude and praise for their generous and thoughtful gift and say how did they know that it was exactly what you wanted. You can't thank them enough for their kindness. You are absolutely thrilled.

80sMum Sat 14-Nov-15 09:10:31

My in-laws always used to give cash gifts. We each had an envelope; DH's would typically contain £250 and mine would be £10 or sometimes £20 if it was a combined Christmas and birthday gift.
Although it never bothered me, now that I am a mil myself, if I give a cash gift for Christmas, it is always a joint gift for the couple.

Cabrinha Sat 14-Nov-15 09:15:42

Nasty people.
It takes mental effort to buy £1.99 gloves over £30 perfume (which I think is rubbish but a lot of people like perfume and it fits more as a 'nice' present).

Your husband should be asking them what the fuck they're playing at.

Hormonal1 Sat 14-Nov-15 09:16:39

I completely understand OP. Although my MIL isn't stingy in regards to the amount she spends, she puts no thought in to presents for me and 9/10 any present I get at Birthday or Xmas is for the house and not for me personally. This is because she doesn't like my taste so she buys things for me and thinks I'll feel obliged to use them, in the last few years I've had cushions, plates to put on the wall, plants for the garden (she knows I hate gardening) etc. I feel very hmm about this. I've now got DH on board as would rather receive nothing than things I don't want or won't use - I refuse to be blackmailed into having her 'taste' of furniture etc all over my house. He now preempts my birthday and Christmas by asking a couple of months in advance what she's thinking of getting and then tells her not to buy it. Seems to be working to a certain extent. I know it sounds ungrateful but it makes me feel very unappreciated and questioning my taste in furnishings etc really dents my self esteem. Ironically we always put a huge amount of thought in to her presents. Here's some flowers OP! Good luck!

Ps. I like the charity idea!

Merguez Sat 14-Nov-15 09:19:29

Please could someone explain the meaning of PA?

Cupoftchaiagain Sat 14-Nov-15 09:22:10

Pa= passive aggressive

TheNumberfaker Sat 14-Nov-15 09:23:57

It's passive aggressive.

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